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Talking to Your Doctor About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Describe your obsessive or compulsive behavior to your doctor. Also, tell him if these problems interfere with your daily activities.

In addition, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • Could I have a different illness? Can I have a checkup to be sure?
  • Have you treated other people with OCD? If not, can you recommend someone who has?
About Treatment Options
  • What treatments are available for OCD?
  • If I take medication:
    • How long will it take to work?
    • What benefits can I expect?
    • What side effects should I look for?
  • Should I try counseling, as well? What type do you recommend?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies I should try?
About Counseling

If you decide to try counseling, interview counselors to find one with whom you feel comfortable discussing your problems. Some questions to ask are:

  • What is your training and experience in treating OCD?
  • What is your basic approach to treatment?
  • How long does treatment last?
  • What is the length and frequency of treatment sessions?
  • What health insurance is accepted?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • What lifestyle changes can help me reduce my anxiety and stress symptoms? Including:
    • Diet
    • Relaxation and stress management techniques
    • Exercise
  • How best do I implement these changes?
About Outlook
  • What are my chances of recovering from OCD both with and without treatment?
  • How often does OCD recur? What can I do to prevent a recurrence?

Revision Information

  • About OCD. International OCD Foundation website. Available at: Accessed June 15, 2016.

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 13, 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Updated January 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.

  • Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: Updated May 2014. Accessed June 15, 2016.